Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

April 21, 2014

Financial protection for children in foster care

OKLAHOMA CITY —

It has been a pleasure to work with Senator Sean Burrage for the past 8 years.  Always a trusted colleague and ally in the Senate side, I’ve been honored to carry some of his legislation in the House of Representatives.
One of the bills the Senator entrusted to me this year is a measure that authorizes the Department of Human Services to run annual credit checks on children in foster care.  
Though Federal law currently requires a single credit check to be run prior to a child’s discharge from the system, this sometimes come too late and damage has already been done.
A child in foster care is three times more likely to have his or her personal information stolen and misused than the rest of the population.  
The longer a child is in the system, the more likely the occurrence of identity theft or misuse of personal data.  And one of the most devastating things for a child who has aged out from the system is to find their credit is already ruined.  
This can negatively impact the ability to obtain loans for further education and even the ability to enter into a rental agreement for housing.
Sen. Burrage and I worked with DHS staff to craft language that will enable DHS to fully implement the system of performing annual credit checks over time.  With over 11,000 children in State custody, it is a significant undertaking that cannot be immediately accomplished.
Senate Bill 1937 passed the House of Representatives without any opposition this week and is now headed to Governor Fallin for final approval.
Measures like this are good for kids in foster care and are indicative of the legacy Sen. Burrage will leave the Oklahoma State Senate and the long history of standing up for children from the Senators of Senate District 2.
As we move into the final month of session please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns about measures pending in the legislature.  I can be reached at bensherrer@okhouse.gov or 800-522-8502.  Until next week, God bless you.
Ben Sherrer is state representative for District 8.

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